Pay to be deceived?


On weekdays we stick to digital editions of the morning papers but come weekends we splurge in paper, subscribing to the two largest newspapers in Sweden. Every now and then we try to decide on one of them but my husband wants his Fredrik Strage chronicles in Dagens Nyheter, and I, believe it or not, start every Saturday breakfast with Glossy Weekly SvD Perfect Guide from Svenska Dagbladet. My favourite this weekend? A feature on Jonathan Cheung, Head of Design at Levi Strauss. I read it and decided I need Levi’s jeans, and perhaps some vintage ads on the walls of our hallway.

How come I write this here? I was actually going to write about a study by Computer Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, on how much geo data Android apps actually collect. Groupon, which gathers location data to offer local deals, requested one participant’s coordinates 1,062 times in two weeks.

“Does Groupon really need to know where you are every 20 minutes?” asked Norman M. Sadeh, a Carnegie Mellon professor who co-authored the study. “The person would have to be accessing Groupon in their sleep.”

One quote in the article got me thinking about my relationship to SvD Perfect Guide. “While savvy users understand that using mobile devices entails some privacy tradeoffs – for example, a navigation app will reveal their location to the app’s publisher – most don’t realize the extent to which such information is collected and distributed, the researchers said.” And basically, that savvy user is me – I happily let app distributors sell my location to advertisers, and I even pay to have payed content delivered to the door on weekends, buying their messages with eyes wide open.

If the Levi’s story was an advertorial? It wasn’t marked, but as Perfect Guide themselves tell potential advertisers: it’s a very strong media channel “with the possibility of extra creative advertising solutions”.